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Principles of Pro Style Offenses

JSU Zack

How do I IT?
#1
Update: A full explanation of my pro spread offense, including a full list of plays, reads, and philosophy has been posted to my website: http://zackwhiteit.com/2015/11/03/the-pro-spread-offense/.

We've been at Nutopia for well over a month now, and no one has posted this yet. I guess the "Old Guard" that ran pro style disappeared along with Flufftopia. As I am probably one of the last few people to run this offense on a semi-regular basis, I will carry the torch of those now gone.


A tip of the hat to the granddaddy of modern football: Bill Walsh.

What is pro style?
Professional style football is a chameleon. It takes the best parts of different offenses and mixes them together to create a sound scheme that can work in a variety of situations. At this point, there are four types of pro style offenses used in the NFL:
West Coast
Air Coryell
Erhardt-Perkins
Any of the above with additional spread elements (zone read/bubble screens/etc.)


Pro style offenses use tight ends and fullbacks extensively, but they are all but dead in other offenses. These two positions lend to the physical nature of pro style offenses and their desire to beat you by wearing you down with a strong running game & crisp passing game.

What gives Pro Style offenses an advantage?
At the college level, pro style offenses typically fit a single mold:
A big, smart offensive line
An accurate quarterback
One or two backs who can run between the tackles

A featured receiver who is a mismatch for defenders

This formula has been used time and time again to win championships; Miami, USC, Ohio State, and Alabama all won with a pro scheme. This offense likes to burn the clock and reduce the opposing team's chances of scoring.

What are the downsides of a Pro Style offense?
First, the pro style offense is part of a bigger "team" philosophy of physical toughness. If the other team is scoring every drive, the pro style team will lose the game nine times out of ten because they are not designed to win a track meet. In many situations, a five minute drive that ends in a punt is considered a win as it gives the defense a rest and keeps the other team's offense off the field. NFL teams who drastically favor one side of the ball versus the other usually lose to teams who are well-rounded in all three phases of the game.

Secondly, the pro style offense is conservative by nature to minimize mistakes, but when mistakes are made, they can be critical. Running a pro style offense takes a lot of patience and self-control, especially in the first half while the offense sets up its constraint plays by trapping the defense on its base plays. This may mean running into eight man fronts the entire first quarter, but the points will come later in the game as the playaction passes open up.

"Three yards and a cloud of dust. What a boring way to play football!"
Some people call it boring, but the pro style offense is a methodical approach to playing football. By creating mismatches and setting up plays, the defense is always wrong when a smart quarterback is at the helm of a powerful pro style offense.
 
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JSU Zack

How do I IT?
#4
My Pro Style Offense
JSU Zack's Pro Spread 2.0 on SimSports.net

The second edition of the pro spread is a hybrid offense that mixes elements of the West Coast, Spread, and Air Raid attacks with a focus on the zone running game. Teams with similar attacks are the Alabama Crimson Tide, Houston Texans, and others. You can run this offense as a hurry up or ball control offense. The under center formations predominantly feature two TE or a TE and H back. The shotgun sets are mostly 11 or 10 personnel. For short yardage, the pro spread features variants of the I formation along with a few heavy shotgun formations.
 
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JSU Zack

How do I IT?
#5
Film & Diagrams
Levels: Cover 2 Zone Beater

This is one that I couldn't figure out for a long time. I think I ran across a breakdown from Gruden or Manning or something about a year ago. I don't use it often, but I do enjoy using it as a complement to Under.

I usually read the outside WR running the short in, and then I read the dig. In a trips formation, the slot running the quick in acts as a clearing route to bait the LB. The dig is there to beat man press. If one of those two routes aren't open, check down.

I often audible the solo receiver to run a different route based on the coverage. If you set the formation to the boundary, you can really beat DBS in 1-on-1 coverage. This is great for soft Cover 2/4.

Levels Read Progression from 2x2
levels.gif
Levels Read Progression from 3x2 Trey
levels-trey.gif

Drive: Cover 2 Man Beater

Dagger: Cover 3 Beater by @PSUEagle
 
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#7
@JSU Zach can you discuss how to prevent your opponent from pattern reading by using stems/route combo's/concepts that fit together and build off each other? I've heard base plays should fit together and each base play needs a counter and sometimes a counter to the counter.
 

JSU Zack

How do I IT?
#8
@SEVERUS I definitely can. Obviously, some of this stuff isn't in the game, but you would be surprised how much actually is. The route trees in the bunch formations are excellent because they build on top of one another (think Z Spot & Z Spot Dig).
 
#9
I was going to put a few basic examples like Drive from the Shallow series and snag from compressed alignments.


Smash on the left side



Levels on the Left

 
#11
An important concept of some pro styles offense is the quick drop back and pass.


Notice in shotgun you have about 2 seconds before you can throw in the game. Under center you can exploit a mismatch IMMEDIATELY.

Read a zone defense and know someone is going to be open for an easy pass right after the snap? Under center pro offenses exploit this.

This is essentially west coast, and you can drive down the field 2-5 yards at a time. Burn some clock. Throw in a power running game you can essentially kill the clock in the 2nd and 4th quarter.

The quick drop also works well under center for bunch formations where it is tough to press without 2 safeties over the top. Next time you're up give the quick drop offense a shot, pinch the line though under center style offense can be blown up with a-gap. And you're much more likely to get sacked.
 

fonzilla

Well-Known Member
#14
So I have been tinkering a little with singleback offense; which playaction passes do you have the most success with? I find it very hit or miss especially playing the people on this site.
 

TXHusker05

Well-Known Member
NCAA Moderator
#15
So I have been tinkering a little with singleback offense; which playaction passes do you have the most success with? I find it very hit or miss especially playing the people on this site.
I like a lot of the PA passes off of Stretch. I know Ace Big, Slot and Y Trips have some, others do as well. It's one of the better PA animations and really does a decent job sucking up user defenders and most have pretty nice routes attached.

Ace Big has some of the better PA's in the game. The little angle/corner route on PA Weak Flood destroys man (unless it gets mirrored):



My Osborne offense isn't exactly "pro-style" but PA from Ace is fairly important for my limited passing game. Since I mostly base off OZ Stretch, PA off Stretch works the best.

I would avoid PA off of Bootleg if at all possible. The animation fools no one and by the time you're turned back around to set to throw, a pass rush is going to be in your face. PA off Counter is another one I'd avoid, I like it from the I-Formation but it's a bit awkward out of Ace. If you do run PA off Counter, make sure you flip the play if your QB is right handed, the animation is a lot cleaner because the QB finishes the animation with his feet set ready to throw. That said, I like PA Counter (not Counter Waggle) out of Ace Big. It is the complimentary play to Counter Trap and has a nice Drive concept to one side and a deep comeback to the other.
 

TXHusker05

Well-Known Member
NCAA Moderator
#18
http://www.simsports.net/viewPlays.php?pid=5287&gid=2 I have had success using this play. But like most things it can take awhile for some of the routes to develop
I like that one as well. Ace Big is probably my go to pass formation in my Osborne offense. It is loaded with great PA and a pretty good drop back game.

Some of the automotion PA stuff in Ace is nice but the corresponding run plays aren't always that special. Plus any play with automotion usually leads to users trying to time up the snap with a rush. I'm more run heavy/run extreme than I am pro style but I have a QB coming through the pipeline at Nebraska who may move me closer to Stanford than I am old Nebraska. Might try some new Ace stuff out.
 

JSU Zack

How do I IT?
#19
Over the years, I've studied probably every offense to come around over the last hundred years. When it comes to play action, I like to stick with wing t principles. IMO the waggle play is one of the best constraints in the history of football. The quarterback rolling out away from pursuit with a flood concept and backside post to hold the high safety is unstoppable.
 

NavyHog

Well-Known Member
Utopia Moderator
NCAA Moderator
#22
Took the latest incarnation of my offense on a test drive against @NavyHog. I stayed balanced, but I threw three picks.
You had me off balance in the first half with with the run and pass. Was really pissed when you had 3rd and goal on my 6 and scored off a split back FB dive (at least that is what it appeared to be). I ditched my UC conventional offense to the no-huddle hurry-up in the 2nd half to try and change momentum. I had a long TD drive on my first possession and then went nowhere the rest of the half. A lot of bugs to still be worked out, but it's getting better every game.

You have a really nice scheme and was hard to predict/stop with the run pass mix.
 

JSU Zack

How do I IT?
#23
You had me off balance in the first half with with the run and pass. Was really pissed when you had 3rd and goal on my 6 and scored off a split back FB dive (at least that is what it appeared to be). I ditched my UC conventional offense to the no-huddle hurry-up in the 2nd half to try and change momentum. I had a long TD drive on my first possession and then went nowhere the rest of the half. A lot of bugs to still be worked out, but it's getting better every game.

You have a really nice scheme and was hard to predict/stop with the run pass mix.

That was indeed the FB belly play. I've been blessed with good fullbacks, and lots of folks don't expect them to be a threat.

Once I got on the phone and put my brain on "autopilot", I played a lot more predictably into your hands. In the first half, I got a lot of good plays off playaction (particularly the bomb to the TE the first play of a drive). In the second half, you stuffed the playaction. Great move on your part.
 
#24
The key to playaction in this game and especial vs users is to cancel it.

Start the animation for a half secound then immediate ly cancel it. You get similar if the same affect in cpu and it actually allows you to get the play off.

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TXHusker05

Well-Known Member
NCAA Moderator
#26
Doesn't look all that different from this from Gus Malzahn (85 Rip)



Those are my favorite type of GL plays in NCAA. I love going sprintout for 2PT and GL. Empty Wing Trio Z Spot is probably my go to GL/2PT play. That's a pretty easy read, even with half a field to work with and if there are defenders head up on all 3 of those receivers, I can check to QB Power. Not pro style but the concepts aren't far apart.
 
#30
I think I am like those QBs who really need the quick and simple pre-snap reads where my best option against any given defensive shell is really obvious. That is why I run a spread-based system.

I struggle with compressed formations and with understanding what the defense is doing in tight quarters. So a lot of "pro-style" passing game stuff for me is just an accident waiting to happen.
 

JSU Zack

How do I IT?
#31
I've went to something similar to Alabama's offense now. I only have two formations with a fullback in the backfield. Running I form all day will get you absolutely stomped online. What I'm running now is quite similar to @RamesuThe1's offense. 21 personnel single back formations, 11 personnel pistol, 4 & 5 wide shotgun, and a few goal line packages.

That's the beauty of the pro style offense. You can put your best players on the field and still use the same concepts, like a zone running game or lots of crossing routes.
 

JSU Zack

How do I IT?
#34
@JSU Zack what is the progression on Levels?
This is one that I couldn't figure out for a long time. I think I ran across a breakdown from Gruden or Manning or something about a year ago. I don't use it often, but I do enjoy using it as a complement to Under.

I usually read the outside WR running the short in, and then I read the dig. In a trips formation, the slot running the quick in acts as a clearing route to bait the LB. The dig is there to beat man press. If one of those two routes aren't open, check down.

I often audible the solo receiver to run a different route based on the coverage. If you set the formation to the boundary, you can really beat DBS in 1-on-1 coverage. This is great for soft Cover 2/4.
 

JSU Zack

How do I IT?
#36
Sorry it's taking me so long to get back to this. I've been through three different versions of my offense this week after testing it out in the NCFL. I started off with a West Coast feel from the gun. Then, I moved to a Patriots style book with lots of heavy sets. I've finally settled on a bastardized offense of my favorite formations with all sorts of personnel. I'll break down some of the concepts soon.
 

JSU Zack

How do I IT?
#42
My Pro Style Offense
JSU Zack's Pro Spread 2.0 on SimSports.net

The second edition of the pro spread is a hybrid offense that mixes elements of the West Coast, Spread, and Air Raid attacks with a focus on the zone running game. Teams with similar attacks are the Alabama Crimson Tide, Houston Texans, and others. You can run this offense as a hurry up or ball control offense. The under center formations predominantly feature two TE or a TE and H back. The shotgun sets are mostly 11 or 10 personnel. For short yardage, the pro spread features variants of the I formation along with a few heavy shotgun formations.
Offensive playbook uploaded.
 
#43
Is this still happening? I lurk here from time to time, and I know this post is old but I'm interested in what you have to say.

Also, can I ask what makes a good power running back? There's more to it than STR and BTK right? What should I look for in recruiting in order to find a running back that actually feels powerful when he runs?

Thanks.
 

JSU Zack

How do I IT?
#44
Is this still happening? I lurk here from time to time, and I know this post is old but I'm interested in what you have to say.

Also, can I ask what makes a good power running back? There's more to it than STR and BTK right? What should I look for in recruiting in order to find a running back that actually feels powerful when he runs?

Thanks.
Thanks for reading.

Two weeks ain't old. :laughing: The pro style offense is easily the biggest offensive framework in football. The Pats, Saints, and Chiefs all have playbooks hundreds of pages long. I'm taking my time with this, but I don't plan on stopping. I try to get in two or three breakdowns per month.

In real life, there are a few key aspects to a good power running back:
  • Ball security
  • Mindset (aka I'm going to run his ass over). My coaches liked to call this "licking him instead of letting him lick you". Even small backs can have this mindset.
  • Strength
  • Balance
  • Acceleration (a great burst before the handoff; Eddie Lacey)
In NCAA/Madden, I would just look at Strength, Break Tackle, and Acceleration. He can be a tank, but he still has to get you those yards before anyone touches him.

Pro tip: Many formations have a FB formation sub that puts the big guy at tailback. Use this to your advantage when you need a few yards.
 
#47
This thread has been awesome man, lots of insight into the pro style offense, I'm looking into building a custom pro style playbook for my kansas dynasty and this has helped a bunch

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